President Cyril Ramaphosa did admit to the ANC having made some “mistakes regarding” transformation, but said that on the whole the “ANC is working” and “fixing” South Africa’s problems.
He called on the capacity crowd at the Moses Mabhida stadium in Durban, where the party was launching its new election manifesto as well as celebrating its 107th birthday, to put their trust in the party for five more years.
“Please trust us again to continue governing in the next five years,” he said.
He noted some of what he sees as the ANC’s successes in government, including expanded access to health care, a reduced child mortality rate and increased employment.
Ramaphosa said there is “hope and renewal” in the ANC at the moment.
“This manifesto, we anticipate a skills revolution in our country,” he said.
“Let’s work together to grow the economy,” he asked the packed stadium.
“Let us grow our capabilities and skills and propel our young people into an age of discovery,” he continued.
The president said that at one of the central tenants of the new manifesto is job creation, and vowed to implement reforms in economic sectors.
“We will expand our export markets,” he added.
He also warned those who are operating illegal businesses in the townships that government plans to enforce permits.
The president also highlighted a need for more commitment from public servants, saying that while most “conduct their work with diligence”, some show an “indifference to citizens’ suffering which has led to a deterioration in the quality of services and assistance rendered”.
“We want civil servants who will put our people first. We want civil servants who will commit to doing things much faster. We want them to be able to distribute textbooks to our schools on time,” he said.
He also hinted at corruption in the civil sector, saying civil servants must stop doing business with the state.